By 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed entirely by artificle intelligence. Recent advancements in AI have evolved the way that online retailers can collect data and, most importantly, how quickly they’re able to respond. Whilst the use of AI in eCommerce is not new, we’ve barely scratched the surface in witnessing how this kind of technology will shape the future of eCommerce. As eCommerce continues to grow and compeition becomes increasingly fierce, the implementation of AI in online retailing is set to intensify.
eCommerce is experiencing exponential growth and, as a result, a mass amount of online data is being generated by consumers. AI technology uses machine-learning algorithims to extract this data from purchase histories, social media pages and web interactions and find patterns to generate insights into consumer buying behaviours. The same AI technology that is used to collect this information can subsequently process and respond in real-time to predict demand, manage the supply chain, fine-tune website architecture and enhance the shopping experience based on their consumers behaviours. As Predictive Analysis technology becomes increasingly accessible, we’re preparing ourselves to see a powerful upgrade in how online retailers are able to meet market demand with accute accuracy.
What does this mean for the future of eCommerce?
The data collected by predictive analytical models can provide online retailers with a 360-degree overview of their consumers. This can improve the efficiency of a number of eCommerce business activites:
- Targetted Advertising – With an in-depth understanding of who their customers are and how they choose to shop, online businesses will be more equiped to create sale-focused advertisements with increased likliehood of high conversion rates.
- Suggestive Shopping – Dated collected from analytical models can be used to create automated, real-time responses to customers online activity. Using automated AI technology, online retailers can suggest complimentary and/or alternative products, brands and search options based on their recent online activity. Applying AI in this way presents two lucrative opportunities for the eCommerce industry. The first is the opportunity to increase touch-point interactions with consumers to boost sales. The second, and perhaps more significant, is the opportunity to play a ‘hands-on’ role in influencing customers buying behaviour to increase the loyalty and reliability.
- Supply Chain Analytics – Insight gained into customers buying behaviour will serve as a valuable asset when planning supply chain activities. Online retailers will be able to use data collected through predictive analytical models to forecast product demand and adapt their supply chains accordingly to optimize costs.
The use of ‘Visual Searching’ is expected to take off in 2017, particulalry in the fashion industry. Visual searching allows consumers to search for brands and products using images, instead of keywords, by ‘reading’ the colours, shapes, sizes and text of the image to identify what the consumer is searching for. This technology operates in an image database built using product images and/or user generated images. Search results will present visually similar items of the original search entry along with recommendations for other similar items based on metadata.
What does this mean for the future of eCommerce?
The eCommerce industry is continiously looking for ways to enhance the customer experience, and the inroduction of visual search presents an exciting opportunity to do so:
- Consumer convenience – Perhaps the most significant benefit of visual search is the convenience it provides for the consumer – it takes less time, requires less effort and provides more accurate results. The lure of convenience is powerful, and will serve as a major contributing factor to the growth of visual search.
- Integration of offline and online – Visual search provides a tightly integrated offline to online shopping experience, giving online retailers the opportunity to be immediately present during the offline shopping journey. With a visual search application that consumers can access on their Smartphones, offline inspiration can be immediately actioned into online product search simply by taking a photo. This integration closes the gap between the competitiveness.
Advancements in AI technology perfectly coincdies with the growth and demand that the eCommerce industry is experiencing. By providing eCommerce with improved knowledge and understanding of its consumers, the industry will achieve unparrallelled efficiency and automation. The synthesization of eCommerce and AI could well be the Holy Grail for online retails who are able to recognise and leverage this opportunity to interact with their consumers. The evolution of eCommerce has begun!